La Liga: Matchday 38 Review
Last weekend was the final weekend in La Liga, and there was still a lot to play for. While Barcelona had already easily won the title, there was still the question of who would finish in fourth and claim the final Champions League spot, as well as whether Girona could somehow get themselves out of the relegation zone. It was an exciting weekend of action, so find out more about it here…
Valencia Win the Race for 4th Place
The big news from the weekend was the fact that Valencia won the race to finish in 4th spot. They finished two points clear of Getafe, the only other team with a chance of finishing in the Champions League places. It was certainly a disappointing day for Getafe, who had been pushing for Champions League qualification all season, yet qualifying for the Europa League still represents a massive achievement for the club. Valencia will now go into Europe’s premier club competition at the qualifying stages.
Valencia’s qualification came thanks to a 2-0 victory at home over Valladolid, in a game that the visitors actually dominated. Carlos Soler scored the first goal for Valencia in the 36th minute, before Rodrigo doubled their lead in the 52nd minute. Valencia would go on to keep a clean sheet, despite Valladolid having 19 shots. For Valladolid, the match meant nothing, as they’d already secured La Liga football prior to this match, and they finished the season in 16th place.
Getafe started the day level on points with Valencia, although they had a worse goal difference. This meant that they needed to better Valencia’s result – something that turned out to be almost impossible, thanks to Valencia’s win and superior goal difference. In the end, Getafe would draw 2-2 with Villarreal. Francesco Portillo and Nemanja Maksimović got the goals for Getafe, while Villarreal’s goals came from Vicente Iborra and Gerard Moreno. Villarreal finish the season in 14th, while Getafe finish in 5th.
Real Madrid Suffer Yet Another Defeat
The season went from bad to worse for Real Madrid last weekend, as they suffered yet another loss, this time to Real Betis. Despite having home advantage, Zinedine Zidane’s Real side still managed to lose 2-0, and many are now calling for some huge overhauls of the squad. One player almost sure to leave is Gareth Bale, who was an unused substitute and left the field at the end without even acknowledging the Real supporters.
Both Betis goals came in the second half, and it was Loren Morón who scored the opening goal, in the 61st minute. Jesé would then score the second in the 75th minute, to put the game beyond Real Madrid. Real will finish this campaign in 68 points, which puts them in 3rd place, eight points behind cross-town rivals Atlético. Betis finish the season in a respectable 10th place.
Barcelona Held by Plucky Eibar
Prior to the final weekend of the season, Barcelona had already easily won the La Liga title. Both players and fans would have wanted to finish the season with a win though, but this was denied by a plucky Eibar team. The 2-2 result, along with the result for Atlético, meant that Barca would end up finishing the season 11 points clear at the top. Eibar finish the season in 12th.
Eibar might be annoyed that they didn’t get more from the game, as they had 18 shots throughout the match – more than double the number Barcelona had. Barcelona had Messi though, and the Argentine magician conjured up two goals in the game, taking him to 36 goals in La Liga this season, 14 more than second place. Eibar’s two goals came from Marc Cucurella and Pablo de Blasis.
Girona Confirmed as Final Relegated Team
Going into the final day, Girona were strong favourites to fill the final relegation spot, but there was at least a chance. Their loss to Alavés condemned them to football in the Spanish second tier next season though, joining Huesca and Rayo Vallecano as this year’s relegated teams. Alavés finish the season in 11th place, although they were just three points away from Espanyol in 7th.
The opening goal of the game came in the 40th minute, as Alavés’ Mubarek Wakaso put the ball in to the net. The next goal wouldn’t come until the 83rd minute, when Alavés doubled their lead, thanks to Jonathan Calleri. There would be a consolation goal for Girona in the 86th minute, scored by Portu, but there was no great escape engineered by Girona in the end.
Elsewhere in La Liga…
Elsewhere, Atlético finished their season with a 2-2 draw with Levante. Atlético had already confirmed the 2nd place, while the draw leaves Levante in 15th. Atlético found themselves 2-0 down by half time, thanks to goals from Erick Cabaco and Roger, and things got even worse when they had Ángel Correa sent off near the beginning of the second half. They still managed to fight back and claim a draw though, with goals from Rodri and Sergio Camello.
Espanyol haven’t had a bad season, and they finished this campaign with another win, this time over Real Sociedad. This meant that they finished in 7th place, claiming a Europa League berth, while Sociedad ended the campaign in 9th. The end result was 2-0 to Espanyol, with goals coming from Roberto Rosales and Chinese superstar Wu Lei.
Sevilla have also had a reasonably good season, having already qualified for the Europa League prior to last weekend. They finished the season with a home match against Athletic Bilbao, who needed a win to qualify for the Europa League. Sevilla’s first came from Wissam Ben Yedder, while the second, scored in the 92nd minute, came courtesy of Munir El Haddadi, giving Sevilla a 2-0 win. Sevilla finish the season in 6th, while Bilbao finish in 8th.
Huesca were already guaranteed relegation before last weekend, however fans will be glad to see that their team at least went out on a high note. They defeated Leganes 2-1, thanks to a brace from Martín Mantovani. Leganes’ only goal also came from Mantovani, as he put the ball into his own net. A hat-trick of this type certainly isn’t seen too often in the world’s top leagues! Huesca end the season in 19th, while Leganes finish in 13th.
Finally, Celta Vigo got the point they needed to assure survival in La Liga, but they didn’t even need the point in the end, thanks to Girona’s defeat. Celta’s 2-2 draw with Rayo Vallecano – who were already relegated – was made possible thanks to two late goals from Iago Aspas. Previously, Vallecano had been in charge, due to goals from Adri Embarba and Álvaro Medrán.